Alive Museum of Al-Andalus
We will start with our analysis of the Alive Museum of Al-Andalus by talking about its building, which is Calahorra Tower.
There are few studies that agree with the origin of the tower, although many scientists suggest an Arab origin, which was reused with time over the base of an old wall.
Originally, Calahorra is thought to have consisted of two towers connected by an arch. In times of Enrique II of Trastámara, in the second half of the 14th century, it was extended with a third tower, thus creating two new cylinders, which resulted in a three-short-armed-crossed floor.
The tower has a deep moat surrounding it as a protection system, as well as numerous loopholes that had cannons in the past. In its higher part, it is topped by a row of pyramidal battlement which gives it a tougher appearance and that of a fortress. The rest of the façade does not have any decoration, except for two fine mouldings located in the higher section.
The inside of the tower is divided in three levels, and it consists of up to 14 small rooms, and it has the prominent appearance of a fortress, like the outside. The rooms have a permanent exhibition dedicated to the three cultures that lived in our city.
Calahorra Tower was a witness and a main element at the same time of the famous battle of Campo de la Verdad between King Pedro I the Cruel and his brother Enrique II. Back then, the city supported Enrique II, and therefore suffered the revenge by Pedro I, who entered the city with his troops through this tower, helped by Kings of Granada and Morocco, to whom he had promised great rewards.
Throughout its extended history, Calahorra Tower has fulfilled numerous purposes: it has been used as a school, hospital, and even prison. It is known that in the 18th century, nobles from Córdoba and foreign soldiers from Cádiz were imprisoned here. At the end of the 18th century, during the time of an epidemics in Córdoba, it was used to accommodate the infected, in order to prevent its spreading.
In 1987 the City Council of Córdoba, after the initiative by French writer and professor Roger Garaudy, donated the management of Calahorra Tower to the foundation with the same name in order to set the Alive Museum of al-Andalus.
With the objective of spreading the splendour of Córdoba and Al-Andalus between the 9th and 12th centuries, Calahorra is today a three-floored museum that provides, through themed halls, modern devices and movement autonomy, a sensory possibility to go deep into its main moments, landmarks and achievements that created a unique cultural cooperation that lighted the Western.
HALLS OF THE MUSEUM
HALL I: The Welcome– [Photo #1; #2]
The first hall of the Alive Museum of Al-Andalus aims at welcoming the visitors, who will enter a fantastic and historical place, where the different cultures that lived together in our city show a unique language.
The visit takes us to the period between the 9th and 13th centuries, when Córdoba was the biggest city in Europe, where there was no separation between knowledge and faith, East and West... Here is where true Renaissance started.
HALL II: The Philosophers– [Photo #1; #2]
The second hall is on the left, known as Hall of the Philosophers, since we can see the figures of Muslims Averroes and Ibn al-Arabi, the Jew Maimónides or the Christian monarch Alfonso X the Wise. All of them had a special relationship with our city.
Both the environment and the presentations aim at emphasising the importance of the thought at the time, of knowledge, without separating it from faith or science, which will be dealt with in the following halls.
HALL III: Science and Techniques– [Photo #1; #2]
The next hall is dedicated to Science and Techniques, where we can see the technological advances in Al-Andalus, such as the new techniques in agriculture and irrigation. We can highlight an exceptional model of a water wheel which clearly reminds us of the one that supplied the Caliphal Alcázar with water and that is still preserved on the bank of the river.
Other figures of the time are also dealt with, such as surgeon from Córdoba Abulcassis al-Zahri or the cartographer from Ceuta Al-Idrisi, known for his exceptional world map, the Tabula Rogeriana.
HALL IV: The Peak: the palace and the mosque– [Photo #1; #2]
We climb the stairs to get to the second floor, where we enter a hall known as The Peak: the palace and the mosque, clearly refering to the palatial city of Medina Azahara and the Aljama Mosque in Córdoba. We can highlight the reception Caliph Abd al-Rahman III gave to a Christian monk sent by a Byzantine Emperor.
In front of it, there is the mihrab of the Mosque of Córdoba, made in times of al-Hakam II, with material brought from the East, thanks to the good relationships between both cultures.
HALL V: The Palace, the Alhambra – [Photo #1; #2]
In the next hall, thanks to an exceptional model of the Nasri palace Alhambra and its complete presentations and light and sound effects, we will enter a magical place, from sunrise to sunset, a moment when its tiny rooms are lighted.
The Tower of Comares, the Hall of the Two Sisters, the Courtyard of the Lions, where we can highlight its famous fountain… Everything has been studied and elaborated in detail, and it is easily recognisable by the visitor.
HALL VI: Andalusian music– [Photo #1; #2]
Very close to the hall dedicated to the palace in Granada, we can find the Hall of the Andalusian music, a small but very interesting hall. The visitor will enter a richer Al-Andalus, under the vault covering the mihrab of the Aljama Mosque in Córdoba, one of the most beautiful and astonishing places Islam could have created.
The hall is completed by a small collection of musical instruments from Andalusian times, which are witnesses of its rich culture.
HALL VII: Aljama Mosque, Córdoba – [Photo #1; #2]
We get to the third and last floor of our tower, and there we enter one of the most special halls in the museum, the one dedicated to the Aljama Mosque in Córdoba. An exceptional model is in the middle of the hall, with great details of all the exterior entrances, as well as the most important elements of the inside, such as the Skylight of Villaviciosa or the mihrab itself.
As in the previous example with the Alhambra, the model is enlivened with presentations and high quality sound effects.
HALL VIII: Other places of interest– [Photo #1; #2]
From the hall dedicated to the main monument in our city, we go to another one that shows us others which, without being as historically and artistically relevant as the former, reflect the important traces left by the different cultures that inhabited and lived together in our city.
On the intercolumns of the mosque, under the red and white of its voussoirs, we can highlight the Caliphal Alcázar, its Royal Baths, Almodóvar Gate, the Local Souk, the Sinagogue… and river Guadalquivir, a witness of its history.
HALL IX: Multivision.
We are finishing our visit of the Alive Museum of Al-Andalus, but there is one more stop left, the hall Multivision, where we will enjoy an audiovisual presentation about the three cultures to which the museum is dedicated, which is generally shown every hour.
We finish our visit to the museum here, although we recommend those who wish to visit it climb to the highest part of the monument and enjoy probably the most beautiful view of the city.
Telephone: +34 957 293 929 / FAX: +34 957 202 677.
Bus: Lines 3, 6, 9, 15 and 16.
- From 16th September to 15th June.
Mondays to Sundays: 10:00 to 14:00 - 16:30 to 20:30.
- From 16th June to 15th September.
Mondays to Sundays: 10:00 to 14:00 - 16:30 to 20:30.
- Adults: €4.50.
- Children, groups, and retired: €3.
How to get there: The Alive Museum of Al-Andalus is located in one of the most privileged places in the city. It is worth visiting just for the possibility of admiring the city from its top. Opposite the Mosque-Cathedral, on the other side of the Roman Bridge, it constitutes an aesthetically unequalled complex with these two monuments. Getting there is very easy: if we go from the Mosque-Cathedral we only have to cross the Roman Bridge; however, if we go from the area of Sector Sur (Southern Bank), we only need to follow the bank of the river, which will easily take us to the Calahorra Tower. If you wish to know the Alive Museum of Al-Andalus do not hesitate to hire one of our guided tours. We are experts in the interpretation of the historical heritage from Córdoba. We will advise you on tickets, timetables, prices, how to get… If you have chosen to do sightseeing in Córdoba, choose a high quality option, choose ArtenCórdoba.